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Crosby vs Ovechkin
Since both of them stepped onto NHL ice in 2005 the unrelenting question was raised, Crosby or Ovechkin? Crosby and Ovechkin have seemed to pass the torch back and forth for the past few seasons. Everyone has their own opinion on the subject, but here is the definitive breakdown of the winner thus far in the debate. We will review both players individually as well as together in four categories; individual awards, team success, regular season statistics and playoff statistics.
Sidney Crosby was born August 7, 1987 in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. After two seasons in the QMJHL Crosby was drafted 1st overall to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2005 NHL entry draft. Crosby was the only player in the 2005 draft to jump straight to the NHL and immediately made an impact with the Penguins, scoring 102 points in his rookie season. Crosby shared his rookie spotlight with the Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin, who edged Crosby out to win the Calder Trophy for top rookie.
Crosby has continued his regular season success consistently finishing at the top or near the top in scoring. The biggest accomplishments of Crosby’s career come from his team’s success. He was named the youngest captain in NHL history and led the Penguins to two Stanley Cup finals and won the Stanley Cup in 2009. At the 2010 Winter Olympics Crosby scored the gold medal game winning goal in overtime. Crosby is one of the most decorated players and some consider him the best in the NHL.
Alexander Ovechkin was born on September 17, 1985 in Moscow, Russia. He was drafted 1st overall in the 2004 NHL entry draft, but the 2005 lockout prevented him from entering the league until 2006. Ovechkin started his career with an impressive rookie campaign that won him the Calder Trophy for most valuable rookie. He has continued his dominance in the league winning two Art Ross Trophies as leading scorer and the Maurice Richard Trophy as leading goal scorer among numerous other individual awards. Ovechkin Is now captain of the Capitals and has led them to two playoff appearances, both ending in upsets.
Crosby and Ovechkin both have won many individual awards; they both have won the four major awards, the Lester B Pearson, Art Ross, Maurice Richard, and The Hart trophies. Ovechkin, however has won three of these awards twice to Crosby’s one and won the Calder over Crosby during their rookie season. Although both Crosby and Ovechkin have taken home many individual awards, Ovechkin has the edge in this category.
Since their debut’s Crosby and Ovechkin have both transformed their teams into contenders and have both become captains of their respective teams. Crosby however has a huge lead in this category. Crosby has led the Penguins to two Stanley Cup finals and has won the Stanley Cup. Crosby is also the youngest captain in NHL history. Ovechkin has helped turn around his team but has not made it past the second round in the playoffs. Team success is not necessarily indicative of the player, rather a culmination of factors. However Crosby has had more success and has been a big part of that success.
Regular Season Statistics
Ovechkin has 529 points in 396
games giving him a 1.336 Points Per Game average. Crosby has 506 points in 371 games giving
him a 1.364 PPG average. Technically Crosby is the winner in this category;
however the PPG average is so close I would call it a tie. Another important statistic in determining a players effectiveness is +/-. When a player is on the ice for a goal against it is recorded as a minus 1, when they are on the ice for a goal for they receive a plus 1. Ovechkin has the edge in the plus/minus category with a career +64. Crosby has a career +/- of +45. I am not reading too much into these statistics, however, and the difference in PPG and +/- is negligible.
Ovechkin has played 28 playoff
games and scored 40 points giving him a 1.43 PPG average. Crosby has played 62
playoff games and scored 82 points giving him a 1.32 PPG average. Technically
Ovechkin is the winner statistically in this category, however statistically
it’s so close I would call this a tie. Ovechkin is a +14 and Crosby is a + 22, a very small insignificant difference.
Who is the better hockey player, Crosby or Ovechkin?
Now for the anticlimactic conclusion, it’s a tie. Crosby and Ovechkin are too close to definitively announce a winner. Their PPG are virtually identical, where one lacks personal awards the other makes up for in team success. If I had to choose one, I would say that Crosby might have a slight edge at this point, but nothing absolute. Time will determine the winner of this matchup.
You’ve heard my conclusion, now it’s time to post your opinions. Who is better Crosby or Ovechkin?